Today, Norm Goldman, Editor of Bookpleasures.com and Sketchandtravel.com is excited to have as our guest, Barbie Perkins-Cooper.
Barbie is a playwright, travel writer, author and an award winning screenwriter. Barbie lives in Charleston, South Carolina and is an expert on SC as well as North Carolina and other geographical areas. Barbie is also the author of a soon to be published Insides’ Guide to Asheville, NC
Good day Barbie and thank you for agreeing to participate in our interview.
Please tell our readers a little bit about your personal and professional background. When did your passion for travel writing begin and when did you start traveling? What keeps you going? How do you come up with ideas for what you write? What methods do you use to flesh out your idea to determine if it’s salable?
Thank you Norm. It is a pleasure to be here and to discuss travel writing. I have been a writer since the third grade of elementary school. My first science fiction story was published many, many years ago, all to the credit of my third grade teacher and father. Of course, like most kids, I failed to see the thrill and passion of writing until later in life. In the 1980’s I suffered from depression and started writing again. Looking back, I discovered I did have a flair for words, so I joined a writers group giving myself ten years to achieve something, or I’d only write for fun and family letters.
In 1994, after writing my first screenplay, https://travelstranscribed.com/ I entered a few screenplay competitions, after suggestions from my agent, and I was selected as a finalist. My passion for travel writing started in 2003 after attending a travel writing workshop hosted by Sharon Spence Lieb. She inspired me so much that I had to put my credentials to the test. Within 24 hours, I had my first FAM trip. I have been working as a travel writer since October 2003. At first, it was a struggle, but with each decline, I persevered, determined to achieve my goals.
Since I write (and revise) my goals every January, my goal for 2005 was to target guidebook publishers. I developed a proposal, based on the Charleston, SC community. Because I was still working full-time at a college, like most writers, my desk was stacking high with e-mails and snail mail to read. I targeted the higher paying markets, at first.
In December 2004, I submitted a query to a travel guide site, pitching an idea about Charleston. The editor responded stating she had just finalized the Charleston guidebook but she liked my style and wanted me to keep in touch. Flash forward to May of 2005. The clock was ticking as my job was downsized and I had no clue what I would do after June 2 when my career in the Corporate World ended. I knew I wanted to write, so I reread my dusty goals, and those cluttered e-mails, finding the correspondence with the editor. Quickly, I sent her another e-mail, and within minutes (or so it seemed) she responded, wanting a proposal from me within three days. I wrote the shortest proposal in history and sent it to her.
After a few weeks of negotiations, we agreed on the contract and now I am working on my first guidebook, Insiders’ Guide to Asheville, NC, scheduled for publication in the spring of 2007. My father lived in Asheville for many years, and I have several friends there, so I felt comfortable writing about the city. After that doorway opened, a few magazines I had targeted previously responded to my queries and now, I am publishing travel stories on a regular basis.